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09.07.2015 - 07:47

Renault Duster AWD review - the popular SUV goes rugged

The Renault Duster has been a runaway hit in India and continues to lead the increasingly popular compact SUV segment.

The Renault Duster has been a runaway hit in India and continues to lead the increasingly popular compact SUV segment. So when the French manufacturer brought the AWD Duster to our shores, we at autoX took it to its natural habitat to test its off-road capabilities.


We can’t talk about the Renault Duster, without taking into consideration how it has changed the fortunes of the company in India. Renault endured a troubled first innings in the sub-continent, when it partnered with Mahindra for sale of the Logan. 


However, that changed when Renault - now selling cars independently in India - brought the Duster compact SUV to India. It was admired by both fans and media alike, with sales numbers speaking volumes about the car’s capabilities. 


But Renault couldn’t afford to rest on its laurels, with Ford EcoSport, Nissan Terrano and Hyundai Creta all joining the fray and demanding a bigger piece of the cake. That’s why the French car maker has brought an AWD version of its most-selling car in India.


The obvious difference between the two versions is that the power in the Duster AWD is channeled to all four wheels, as opposed to just the front-two in the incumbent variant. The other major difference lies in the suspension setup.


The engine also seems refined, but more importantly, the clutch pedal is lighter - a sigh of relief for those who intend to use this car more often in cities.


Renault offers three different modes in the Duster AWD: Two-wheel drive channels power only to the front wheels; Auto delivers power to the rears automatically as per the condition; while Lock mode adds life to all four wheels.


This is the mode we at autoX used when we took the Renault Duster AWD off-road and through some slush, for some fun, of course! And the SUV handled pretty much everything it was thrown at, with the 205 mm ground clearance playing into its hands.


As far as the interiors are concerned, there are some subtle changes, such as a new three-spoke steering wheel, a revised instrument cluster that comes with three gauge pods, and some soft touch plastic on the dash.


Tweaks made to the exteriors are far minute, with anthracite coloured alloys, blacked out headlamps and Renault Duster AWD badging, differentiating it from the regular front-wheel drive version.


Overall, we derive a positive impression of the Renault Duster AWD, which offers a well sorted ride, good handling and plenty of cabin space. So if you are searching for a rugged, all-terrain vehicle that will mostly be used in cities, then the Duster AWD is worth considering.

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Driver: Daniel
Marketing Expert & Consultant | Brand Futurist Daniel Gibson helps businesses build strong brands and campaigns that deliver results and set up the enterprise for future success. With 8 years of working experience in top brands, categories and geographies along with paid campaign responsibility.
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